How Biden’s executive orders on coronavirus economic relief impact Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Jones and restaurant owner Matt DeRose provide insight on ‘Fox and Friends Weekend.’
The White House Coronavirus Task Force committed Wednesday to sending 10 million doses per week to each state for the next three weeks, saying they are hitting their target of administering an average of 1 million COVID-19 vaccines per day.
During the first White House COVID-19 briefing of President Biden’s term Wednesday, task force members detailed their strategy to accelerate the availability and administration of vaccines and said that they are on track to meet the president’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans by his 100th day in office in April.
“I know many Americans are anxious and eager to get vaccinated. We are taking this issue on with urgency and purpose,” Biden coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said. “So far this week, we’ve been hitting our target of an average of 1 million vaccinations a day.”
Biden, who has faced criticism that his current daily vaccination goal is too small and not much more than the numbers posted at the end of the Trump administration, said Monday he hopes for 1.5 million vaccinations per day in the next several weeks.
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But Slavitt acknowledged that it “will be months before everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.”
“We are passing doses directly along to states very much in real time as they order them,” Slavitt said, adding that the Biden administration is working to give states “more visibility to know how many vaccines are coming in” so that they can make commitments to state partners and to citizens.
Slavitt said that there are multiple “paths” to get Americans vaccinated, including setting up community vaccination centers, and supplying vaccines directly to pharmacies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky added that they are monitoring vaccine supply, but noted that “not all vaccine that is allocated or delivered is available for inserting into people’s arms.”
“We are working very hard and ensuring we understand exactly where the vaccine is on any given day,” Walensky said, adding that “much of the work” in the coming days will be focused on tightening “the timelines” and understanding “where in the pipeline the vaccine is and when it is administered.”
Last week, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act, which the task force said was “an important vehicle” to maximize the “speed and supply” of vaccines.
“This is a national emergency,” Jeffrey Zients, the director of the White House coronavirus task force, said. “400,000 people have died.”
“Everything is on the table,” Zients continued. “Anything we can do to increase the vaccine supply and timing and delivery is on the table and we will execute accordingly.
As for a vaccine stockpile, Slavitt said the administration “does not keep a stockpile of a large number of vaccines,” and instead, just keeps “a two to three day supply as a practice.”
He added, though, that the U.S. plans to purchase an additional 200 million doses of vaccine from Moderna and Pfizer this year, which he said “will be sufficient to vaccinate every American over the age of 16.”
The briefing comes after Biden, this week, said he was confident that every American who wanted a vaccine could get one by spring time.
“I think it will be this spring. I think we’ll be able to do that this spring. But it’s going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we’ve ever tried in this country,” Biden said Monday.”But I think we can do that.”
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And looking forward, he added that “I feel confident by summer we’ll be well on our way towards herd immunity and increasing the access.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday squashed that expectation on Tuesday.
“What the president’s goal is, is ensuring that there’s greater availability in the spring,” Psaki said. “He will push his team…This is his focus every single day.”
She added: “But the fact is, is every American is not going to be eligible this spring.”
Psaki went on to say that it is “his hope” that more Americans will have access as quickly as possible.”
“But he also said many times, it would take months and months for a broad swath of the population to be vaccinated, and, as always, he is guided, as we all are, by scientists and medical experts,” Psaki said.
Meanwhile, Psaki was also asked about the vaccine stockpile — a question she did not directly answer.
“The president is giving an update on the steps that we’re going to take to provide more vaccine supply,” she said, adding that the administration is learning what delays the states are facing. “We’re rapidly addressing state concerns.”
Psaki said that the administration’s concerns “aren’t just on supply,” but also on ensuring that the states have the proper “number of vaccinators” and “vaccine centers.”
“These are all pieces of his herculean task our team has undertaken,” Psaki said.
More than 420,000 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus-related illnesses since the pandemic swept the nation nearly a year ago, with the number of cases now topping 25.2 million people in the country.
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The president warned, “We’re going to see somewhere between a total of 600,000 to 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way.”
While Biden said he’s “confident we will beat this,” he acknowledged that “we’re still going to be dealing with this issue in early fall.”
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